We cannot, of course, get married—but if we did, there are two ways.
It would be most fun to marry you when it’s a terrible idea,
because it’s too soon or,
because it’s being posed as a solution to our problems, or just
because you know the relationship won’t work out and this seems like a way of putting that off, of being people who surrender to a mutual whim.
That’s why, right now, I sometimes want to marry you.
Especially in my dreams, where as long as we’ve been together,
you have proposed and I have refused:
“Why are you ruining this?” I ask.
It is of course more reasonable to get married when it would be a “good idea,” which is like walking to the bank one afternoon to take out cash to pay your rent, but finding the whole experience relatively appealing despite its context—either the sun is especially nice and your bank is in a neighborhood in the city you like to walkthrough, or it is raining, and you would never have gone for a walk in the rain if you didn’t have your rent to pick up. But you suddenly remember how much you like it, how convenient an umbrella is, etc. The specifics aren’t important: what matters is that this totally routine & actually bad experience appears as a pleasantly specific Tuesday lunch break, somehow, and you walk home and hand $800, taken out in twenties, to the landlord, and you smile.
i.e., it sucks.
To get married when it’s a bad idea,
but a romantic solution, is like
waking up that same day, realizing you cannot afford your rent, but knowing you need to do something, and going downstairs and seducing your landlord. You don’t begin by saying you can’t pay your rent—you half want to believe you’re just there to fuck him, after all, by coincidence, of your own desire—but you make some excuse to go inside (you’re thirsty, you want to say hi to his small dog) and wind up between him and a wall, as if the kiss were yours to surrender to. He doesn’t mention the rent, of course, and you go back to your apartment and fall in love, you wonder if you can sustain an affair with the landlord indefinitely, or whether you’ll need to somehow get the kind of income that makes a non-stressful walk to the bank before the affair goes south, or the landlord gets the courage to mention the rent to you, or his wife finds out.
Most of all I would like to marry you like a tenant who fucks her landlord
pretending she does so out of love.
I refuse to consider marrying you
years from now, when “all is settled” and neither of us has yet been killed
by errant taxis on our individual walks.
It isn’t “imaginable.”
To do neither, to not even date, or make up, or quit
hurting one another needlessly,
to agree to just kiss and talk about Bolaño all day, is fine.
It’s charming, even,
in the way not paying one’s rent at all would be:
in a much more pleasant walk, comprising fantasies of the bank’s explosion, or with no thought to money at all, which passes through too many hands, as I will myself, once out of yours.
Memo on Two Possible Conditions for Our Marriage